Differences Between Working for a Company and Freelance

Where do you want to work when you graduate? Or when you leave your current place of work? There are millions of roles within the creative field. Depending on the role, you may find yourself working for a company, working for yourself as a freelancer, or even as some combination of the two.

When you work for a company you take on the tasks and responsibilities set by the organization. This may be working on a team to complete a client’s project. It may be working with the marketing department to design the brand image. It may be designing the packaging and presentation of new products.

Freelance work, may include some of the duties described above, but it is often done on a much smaller scale and alone. Freelancers typically operate as a one-man band. For many freelancers, the work they do is a means to reach a long-term career goal.

For instance, Merry Fidler, Double Jump Media’s creative director, found little creative jobs or passion projects to do on the side while she worked other jobs that could pay the bills. She did this until she was offered a position at Double Jump Media.

Similarly, Drury University animation student Joseph Collado does commission work when he has time away from his studies. This work is a way for him to gain experience and build his portfolio, but freelancing is not his end goal. He wants to do storyboarding for a large company. Collado says, “If my title was Storyboard Artist at Nickelodeon, I would love something like that.”

Both Fidler and Collado explained to InBetween417 why they would prefer working for a company over being a freelancer. They also discussed some of the challenges freelancers may face.

One aspect of freelance versus company work Fidler brought up was resources. She discussed this in terms of budget and supplies needed to complete a project. “Probably the bigger reason [why people work for companies] is that if people, especially locally, are going to plunk down money for a video, they’re not thinking about the props, or the script writer, they’re just thinking about, who can I get to film this thing,” says Fidler. That being said, freelancers could find themselves in a position where they are spending more on a project than their client is willing to pay because they don’t understand everything that goes into creating the final product they wish for.

Animators collaborating.
Collado collaborating with peer Margaux Stewart.

Technology is another resource to consider. Depending on your specialty, buying the quality tools, such as cameras, lights, microphones, and editing software yourself can be expensive. This expense can be an added challenge to working alone.

Resources can also be looked at in terms of people. In a company there is typically high levels of collaboration between all artists, departments, and employees. With this collaboration there is the brainstorming of ideas and the working together to solve any issues that may arise. Fidler says, “There’s more exponential power when you have people working together, and a lot more resources to pull from.”

Collado also commented on the power of people working together. He says, “I like the sense of community. I like having a team to work with…I always feel like whenever the team has really good connections with each other, the work always ends up being more passionate.” For Collado it is about building relationships with other people.

Another element to consider is how your personality aligns with the needs of a freelancer. Fidler explained that freelance did not fit her personality. She said, “With freelance you have to deal with a lot of uncertainty. And you also have to deal with hustling with finding those jobs. Which is great, if that’s what you’re into. I like hustling with a team.”

Freelance requires someone who is willing to put themselves out there and find the work. They must also be someone who has connections which they can ask questions when needed. They must be someone who can stay motivated to complete client’s project within an appropriate time frame.

Are you a freelancer? Do you work for a company? Share benefits and challenges of each in the comments.

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